Iran-Armenia gas pipeline may reach European Union

The Russian Oil and Gas Report (Russia)
March 24, 2004, Wednesday

IRAN-ARMENIA GAS PIPELINE MAY REACH EUROPEAN UNION

The Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, the contract on construction of which
will be signed very soon, may be extended through Georgia to Ukraine
and further to European Union countries, reports Armenian Energy
Minister Armen Movsisyan. It is possible that the pipeline may be
build from Iran through Armenia and Georgia and further on the floor
of the Black Sea to Ukraine. The minister states, “After completion
of the Blue Stream project construction of long offshore gas
pipelines is already not a fantasy. Iran, Turkmenistan, and what is
the most important, European Union, want this. Europe plans to extend
the gas pipeline with Iranian and Turkmen gas crossing Armenia to its
territory. But this is a matter of serious and long negotiations that
also influences other countries that currently receive Russian gas.”

In 2002, the Kiev-based research institute VNIPItransgaz prepared a
business plan of the project of gas pipeline construction via the
route Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Ukraine-Europe with construction of 550
kilometers of pipes on the floor of the Black Sea from the Georgian
pot of Supsa to Feodosia in the Crimea. The project was estimated at
$5 billion. The gas supplies were estimated at up to 60 billion cubic
meters a year including 10 billion cubic meters or Ukraine.

Source: Vremya Novostey, March 23, 2004

A comman-staff exercise to be conducted in Armenia on March 23-27

Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
March 24, 2004, Wednesday

A COMMAND-STAFF EXERCISE TO BE CONDUCTED IN ARMENIA ON MARCH 23-27

A command-staff exercise will be conducted in Armenia on March 23-27.
Technical, logistic and medical units will be involved in the
maneuvers. Colonel Seiran Shakhsuvaryan, press secretary of the
Armenian Defense Ministry, stated that the Armenian Army will call up
reservists during the first phase of the exercise.

Source: Regnum information agency, March 22, 2004

Translated by Alexander Dubovoi

A compromise is better than a victory

Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
March 24, 2004, Wednesday

A COMPROMISE IS BETTER THAN A VICTORY

SOURCE: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 22, 2004, p. 10

by Vladimir Kazimirov

Ambassador Vladimir Nikolayevich Kazimirov: head of Russia’s
mediatory mission in 1992-1996; presidential envoy for Nagorny
Karabakh; co-chairman of the Minsk OSCE group.

Negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are again at the
crossroads. Two foreign ministers will soon discuss what to do with
this process.

Settling of the Karabakh conflict has become irrational owing to the
maximalism of the conflicting sides. Negotiations held in 1994-1997
were not very fruitful. The conflicting sides rejected proposals by
the Minsk OSCE group three times; 20 meetings held by the presidents
of Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1999-2002 did not solve the problem
either. Negotiations were suspended for six months on the plea of
elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan. It seems that at present nothing
prevent negotiations. But it turned out that the positions of the
conflicting sides have become more uncompromising than before. First
moves made by the new president of Azerbaijan are very contradictory.
He has repeatedly promised to recover the lost territories. At the
same time, he supports peaceful methods, and all bellicose statements
are made by the defense minister. Ilham Aliyev refused to hold
negotiations with Robert Kocharyan in the current format. He states
that the process of negotiations should be speeded up. He said that
he does not needed compromises (he probably hopes to dictate his
conditions of peaceful settlement of the conflict). In the meantime,
Yerevan does not want to resume negotiations with the new president
(who is the son of the former president) and proposes to invite
Stepanakert to negotiations.

The absolute incompatibility of approaches and unwillingness to make
compromises are the cause of a long stagnation of negotiations. As a
matter of fact, the conflicting sides seek after the impossible:
Armenia wants Azerbaijan to acknowledge the independence of Nagorny
Karabakh, or make it part of Armenia; Azerbaijan demands that Armenia
leave Nagorny Karabakh (by the way, Azerbaijan does not make a
mention about this territory’s status after Armenia’s withdrawal).
Armenia does not understand that people who give up Nagorny Karabakh
will not live long in Baku. Azerbaijan does not understand that
Armenia will only leave this territory if tension decreases. Baku
relies on oil proceeds, propaganda and exterior pressure on Armenia.
A cold war against Armenia stops all contacts between the nations.

It’s natural that progress is impossible while the conflicting sides
use previous schemes. A break-through is required. The tenth
anniversary of the armistice (May 12, 2004) gives a chance to improve
the situation. This is a very good pretext to organize a meeting of
the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in order to confirm the
armistice. Would such a gesture be useful? This move would make it
possible to resume a dialogue, taking into account the fact that the
psychological core of the conflict boils down to mutual distrust.

The conflicting sides need a stable mechanism of regular negotiations
between authorized delegations. The agenda of negotiations can be
open. Negotiations should develop in three parallel directions.
Firstly, the conflicting sides must get rid of the cause of the
conflict (security and the status of Nagorny Karabakh for a period of
transition). Secondly, the sides must eliminate the aftermath of the
conflict (the withdrawal of troops and return of refugees). Thirdly,
Azerbaijan and Armenia must relax tension and improve their
relations. It would be very difficult to advance in the former two
directions, which is why the sides must focus on the third one. At
present Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot solve even the simplest
problems.

A summit of the presidents and resumption of sound negotiations would
let the conflicting sides to advance to a peaceful solution. This
scheme does not contain aspects with which the conflicting sides
cannot put up. In addition, the conflicting sides must control their
propagandistic sources. Their role in the current processes is very
harmful for new generations.

(…)

Translated by Alexander Dubovoi

New crisis in Kosovo

United Press International
March 24, 2004 Wednesday 11:18 AM Eastern Time

Outside View: New crisis in Kosovo

By NIKOLAS K. GVOSDEV

WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI)

The violence in Kosovo this past week has dealt a serious blow to the
credibility of the Western Alliance.

After promising for five years that NATO could provide security so
that the United Nations could lay the foundations for the
construction of a multiethnic, democratic Kosovo, a well-organized
campaign exposed the hollowness of Western guarantees. It also tests
the long-term commitment of the alliance to engage in successful
peacekeeping.

Only a few weeks ago, Kosovo was continuing to be promoted as a
successful exercise in nation building. Indeed, the United States was
even preparing to withdraw more forces from the international
protectorate, on the grounds that reconstruction efforts were
proceeding apace.

Of course, the violence that rocked Kosovo this past week is a grim
reminder that ignoring a problem does not make it go away.

The West has been so desperate, however, to paint Kosovo as a
“success” for humanitarian intervention and nation building — even
to the point of citing it as a precedent for how things should go in
Iraq — that warnings of problems bubbling below the surface were
discounted.

Indeed, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest had noted that after
NATO forces entered the province in 1999, “A more enduring, invisible
battlefield emerged quickly. The peacekeepers of the NATO Kosovo
Force, or KFOR, didn’t even pretend to mobilize on it. It was a
battlefield on which the struggle for ultimate power and control was
waged by underground political structures and outlawed security
apparatuses.”

But NATO countries placed such a high value on “no-casualty” missions
that aggressive and effective peacekeeping — including disarming
militias, hunting down war criminals and combating organized crime
and terrorist groups — took a back seat to “not stirring things up.”
And so the province has simmered.

In February, Serbian intelligence alerted their Western counterparts
that there might be an upsurge in violence in Kosovo and in other
areas of the Balkans. On the eve of the violence, Marek Nowicki, the
United Nations ombudsman for Kosovo, complained to the Council of
Europe at a hearing in Paris that the human rights situation in the
province was “unacceptable.” But Nowicki went on to criticize
international authorities in the province for failing to support his
work, accusing U.N. officials of playing down his concerns and
declining to pressure local authorities to act on his
recommendations.

The violence directed against the Serbs of Kosovo — “an outbreak of
violence of this scale, of this speed, of this intensity,” according
to spokesman Derek Chappell — occurred under the watchful eyes of
more than 18,000 international peacekeepers. So this raises a very
serious question: What was NATO and the United Nations doing? How
could these attacks be planned and coordinated across the province
with no advance warning, no signs, no leaks? And what does this say
for the effectiveness of NATO peacekeepers?

Jonathan Eyal of London’s Royal United Services Institute maintains
that NATO “has simply grown too complacent. It has ignored repeated
intelligence warnings about a rising level of tension between
Kosovo’s communities” and so was unprepared to act.

The destruction of the 130-home Serbian village of Svinjare —
located less than a mile away from a base housing French NATO
peacekeepers — was just one in a series of incidents that one
Western diplomat said were attempts by local Albanians “to cleanse
the Serbs and create a fait accompli before any talks.” So the result
has been startled inaction in the face of what Adm. Gregory Johnson,
commander of NATO forces in southeastern Europe, characterized as
“almost amount(ing) to ethnic cleansing.”

Certainly, “multiethnicity” as a value defended in the new Kosovo
also has gone up in flames.

NATO’s performance in Kosovo does not inspire those locked in other
ethnic conflicts in the region — such as the Cypriots, the Armenians
of Nagorno-Karabakh, the secessionists regions of Georgia, or even
the Israelis and the Palestinians — to assume that any settlement
backed by NATO guarantees would provide real and genuine security.

Outward calm has returned to the province. But the damage to NATO’s
credibility may be much longer lasting.

(Nikolas K. Gvosdev is executive editor of The National Interest and
a senior fellow for strategic studies at The Nixon Center.)

(United Press International’s Outside View commentaries are written
by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important
issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of
United Press International. In the interests of creating an open
forum, original submissions are invited.)

Armenian govt to support Russian bank’s projects

ITAR-TASS News Agency
TASS
March 24, 2004 Wednesday

Armenian govt to support Russian bank’s projects

By Tigran Liloyan

YEREVAN

The Armenian government confirmed its readiness to support all
efforts of Russia’s Vneshtorgbank to develop the financial and
banking system in this Transcaucasian country.

Vneshtorgbank has acquired the controlling block of shares in
Armenia’s savings bank, Armsberbank.

Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan said after a meeting with
Vneshtorgbank CEO Andrei Kostin on Wednesday that it was the first
example of official participation of a Russian bank in the Armenian
banking system.

Margaryan believes that the deal will strengthen traditional economic
ties and trade between Armenia and Russia, the government press
service told Itar-Tass.

Kostin said Vneshtorgbank would take serious steps to develop
Armsberbank, to improve the quality of services to the population,
encourage investment programmes, and boost bilateral economic and
trade ties.

According to Kostin, political stability in Armenia, economic growth,
the government’s economic policy, and liberal banking legislation
bode well for these efforts.

In his view, Vneshtorgbank’s operations in Armenia will help boost
public trust in the Armenian banking sector.

Russia’s state-owned Vneshtorgbank controls stake in Armenian bank

Associated Press Worldstream
March 24, 2004 Wednesday

Russia’s state-owned Vneshtorgbank buys controlling stake in Armenian
bank

Russia’s state-owned Vneshtorgbank on Wednesday bought 70 percent of
the shares in a major Armenian bank, officials said.

Andrei Kostin, board chairman of Vneshtorgbank, said that the
purchase of a controlling stake in Armenia’s Armsberbank marked the
Russian bank’s first acquisition of another bank in the former Soviet
Union.

He called it recognition of Armenia’s political and economic
stability.

Russian state-owned companies have increasingly tightened their
foothold in this ex-Soviet republic. Russia’s giant energy monopoly
assumed financial control of Armenia’s only nuclear plant last year
in a deal that Armenia sought to get out from under massive energy
debts to Russian fuel suppliers.

Armenia also depends on Russia’s Gazprom for natural gas supplies,
and Russian businesses are reportedly eying other sectors of the
Armenian economy.

Kostin said that Vneshtorgbank, which is 99.9 percent state-owned,
planned to use its investment to provide “the whole spectrum of
services to Russian companies operating in Armenia.” He also said
that it was considering a significant increase of Armsberbank’s
capital.

Armsberbank was created in 1923 and privatized in 2001.

Two other Armenian banks, Areksimbank and Yunibank, also have Russian
investors.

ARKA News Agency – 03/24/2004

ARKA News Agency
March 24 2004

ENTRY OF VNYESHTORGBANK AT ARMENIAN MARKET TO ALLOW INCREASING OF
ARMENIAN POPULATION TRUST TO BANKING SYSTEM

YEREVAN, March 24./ARKA/ Entry of Vnyeshtorgbank at Armenian market
will allow increasing of Armenian population trust to banking system,
Chairman of VTB Board Andrey Kostin stated at the meeting with RA
Prime Minister Andranik Margarian. Kostin stressed that Russia
reports growth of population trust to the banks.
He noted mutual importance of the deal and said that VTB will make
everything for development of Armsavingsbank. First of all for
improvement of servicing of the population, stimulation of investment
programs and deepening of economic and trade relations between the
countries. According to him, political stability in Armenia, level of
economic growth, economic policy of the Government and liberal legal
field of the banking system are favorable for realization of this
goal.
RA Prime Minister said that the Government is ready to provide
practical assistance to VTB, which will contribute to tightening of
traditional economic and trade links between RA and RF.
Russian Vnyeshtorgbank purchased 70% of Armsavingsbank (Armenia)
shares. The signing of the agreement took place today. L.D. -0 –

EU discusses involvement of S Caucasus in Wider Europe

ITAR-TASS News Agency
TASS
March 24, 2004 Wednesday 7:57 AM Eastern Time

EU discusses involvement of S Caucasus in Wider Europe

By Tigran Liloyan

YEREVAN

The European Union is discussing a possibility of involving the South
Caucasus in Wider EuropeNew Neighbours Initiative, said Heikki
Talvitie, EU Special Envoy to the South Caucasus.

In his meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan on
Wednesday, Ambassador Talvitie said he is hopeful that this process
would yield positive results. He is in Yerevan on a four-day visit as
part of an extended regional tour

In order to achieve this goal the EU envoy stressed that it would
necessary to develop regional cooperation, encourage economic
relations between the region and West European countries, and settle
the existing conflicts, in particular the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Talvitie said he is ready to help find a peaceful solution to the
Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

Glendale: District puts fact versus fiction

Glendale News Press
LATimes.com
March 24 2004

District puts fact versus fiction

Local parents have criticized the district’s English Language
Development program. Coordinator Joanna Junge helps make the
distinction.

By Gary Moskowitz, News-Press

NORTHEAST GLENDALE – Since the district’s English Language
Development program came under criticism last summer from parents,
Joanna Junge has been busy correcting what she calls simple
misconceptions about how the program works.

Junge is the coordinator of curriculum and intercultural education
and instructional services for the Glendale Unified School District.
She works closely with the district’s Welcome Center staff and
language translators, who determine students’ language skills when
they enter the district.

Last summer, members of an Armenian parent group criticized the
district’s English Language Development program during several school
board meetings and on local Armenian television talk shows.

Some parents thought the district discriminated against students of
Armenian and other ethnic backgrounds who were born in America but
whose families speak languages other than English at home.

Others said students are kept in English-language learner classes
longer than they should be so that the district can collect extra
state money. Some parents were concerned that taking too many
English-language learner classes would prevent their children from
getting into top-notch universities.

Other parents said they did not want their children enrolled in the
language classes because they thought they were for special
education. Some thought the language classes had a stigma attached to
them that they did not want their children to be a part of. Others
said the translation provided by the district was inadequate.

“I think there were a lot of misconceptions from some parents that we
have worked at resolving ever since,” Junge said.

The News-Press interviewed Junge recently about the Welcome Center
and parents’ criticisms of the English Language Development program.

NEWS-PRESS: Parents’ criticisms of the district’s English Language
Development program started [last] summer, and resurfaced on several
local Armenian-language television programs. What was one direct
result of that criticism?

JOANNA JUNGE: There was a lot of debate, and we decided, if it will
help communication between parents and us, why fight it? The whole
point is what’s best for the children, and we’ve taken steps to
resolve the debate.

NP: What is the district doing differently now as a result of the
parents’ speaking out?

JJ: We’ve worked to improve our Armenian translation efforts, by
translating in both Eastern and Western dialects of Armenian and
having translators of both dialects available for many meetings.
We’ve also recorded three “Half-Time Live” shows on [Charter
Communications] Channel 15 that feature panel discussions on our
English-language learners program. We plan to re-record those shows
with district officials who are fluent in our primary languages –
Armenian, Korean and Spanish.

NP: Does the district earn more money by keeping students in the
English-language learners program?

JJ: We do collect about $300 per student per year in state and
federal funds. However, our programs cost thousands more per year
than the funds we receive. There is no financial advantage to keeping
students in the program longer than they need to be.

NP: Does taking English-learner classes make it more difficult for
students to get into four-year universities?

JJ: No. The majority of our Advanced Placement students are either
current or former ESL kids. If English is not the primary language,
they need to learn English skills to do college-level work.

NP: Are English learner classes the same thing as special education?

JJ: Absolutely not. Special education is for kids with learning
disabilities. It is possible for an English learner to also have
learning disabilities, but we are careful not to assume that just
because they lack English skills, they have disabilities. There is no
automatic connection between the two.

Distinguished Faculty For Genocide and Human Rights Univ. Program

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR GENOCIDE AND HUMAN RIGHTS STUDIES
255 Duncan Mill Rd., Suite 310
Toronto, ON, Canada M3B 3H9
Tel: (416) 250-9807 Fax: (416) 512-1736
E-mail: [email protected]

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT: GEORGE SHIRINIAN
DATE: March 24, 2004

DISTINGUISHED FACULTY ANNOUNCED FOR GENOCIDE AND HUMAN RIGHTS UNIVERSITY
PROGRAM

Toronto, Canada – As Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, recently noted:
For nearly half a century — almost as long as the United Nations has been
in existence — the General Assembly has recognized the need to establish…a
court to prosecute and punish persons responsible for crimes such as
genocide. Many thought…that the horrors of the Second World War — the
camps, the cruelty, the exterminations, the Holocaust — could never happen
again. And yet they have. In Cambodia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in
Rwanda. Our time — this decade even — has shown us that man’s capacity
for evil knows no limits. Genocide…is now a word of our time, too, a
heinous reality that calls for a historic response.

As there is a continuing need for understanding the phenomenon of genocide
and a response to it, the International Institute for Genocide and Human
Rights Studies (A Division of Zoryan Institute) and the University of
Minnesota-Twin Cities are offering the Summer 2004 Genocide and Human
Rights University Program (GHRUP) and are pleased to announce the
distinguished faculty who will be participating this year.

In addition to Roger Smith and Stephen Feinstein, Co-Directors of the
course, some of the instructors this year include Taner Akçam, Visiting
Associate Professor, Dept. of History, University of Minnesota; Joyce
Apsel, Master Teacher in the General Studies Program at New York
University; Stephan Astourian, Professor, Department of History, University
of California-Berkeley; Major Brent Beardsley, Research Officer at the
Canadian Forces Leadership Institute and former Personal Staff Officer to
Major-General Roméo Dallaire, UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda; Frank
Chalk, Professor, Department of History, Concordia University and
Co-Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights
Studies; Vahakn Dadrian, Director of Genocide Research, Zoryan Institute;
Richard Hovannisian, Armenian Educational Foundation Endowed Chair of
Modern Armenian History, University of California-Los Angeles; Jacques
Kornberg, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Toronto;
Eric Markusen, Senior Research Fellow, Department for Holocaust and
Genocide Studies, Danish Institute for International Studies; Gregory
Stanton, Professor of Human Rights, Mary Washington College, President of
Genocide Watch and Director of the Cambodian Genocide Project; and Eric
Weitz, Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in the College of Liberal Arts
and Director of the Center for German and European Studies, University of
Minnesota. With a few variations, the faculty at both programs, in
Minneapolis, July 5-16, 2004, and in Toronto, August 3-13, 2004, will be
the same.

“This course has always been a unique opportunity for students to
experience a broad comparative perspective on genocide. We are very proud
that among the faculty we have not only some of the foremost scholars in
their respective fields, but also individuals who are active in
international efforts to both document and prevent genocide around the
world,” stated Dr. Roger Smith.

The purpose of the program is to provide students with a framework for
understanding genocide and its effects. It explores the universality of the
issues related to genocide and takes a comparative approach for
understanding the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide,
the Rwandan Genocide, and more recent events with genocidal overtones. In
addition, many special themes are explored, such as the mass violation of
human rights; women, children and genocide; how to teach about genocide;
issues of memorialization and representation; and possibilities of dialogue
and reconciliation between perpetrator and victim groups.

Students wishing to participate in this unique program must have their
applications in by May 15, 2004 for the Minnesota program and by May 31,
2004 for the Toronto program. In order to maintain the seminar format in
this high demand course, the number of students is limited, so early
application is recommended. Limited scholarship assistance will be available.

For more information or to apply, contact the International Institute for
Genocide and Human Rights at (416) 250-9807, , or by
email at [email protected], or contact Stephen Feinstein, Director,
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota, at
(612) 626-2235, [email protected]

www.genocidestudies.org
www.genocidestudies.org